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Executive Turntable: Atlantic Promotes Trio of A&R Execs; Moves at UMPG Nashville, Rhino Entertainment

A rundown of moves and shakers across the music business, including at Atlantic Records, Universal Music Publishing Nashville and Rhino Entertainment.

Atlantic Records has promoted three A&R executives, the company announced Wednesday (March 4). They include Brandon Davis and Jeff Levin, both of whom have been promoted to senior vp, A&R, and Riggs Morales, who has been upped to senior vp, A&R and artist development. The Los Angeles-based Davis and Levin will report to the company’s A&R president Pete Ganbarg, while the New York-based Morales will report to chairman and CEO Craig Kallman.

In a joint statement, Kallman and Ganbarg praised the trio, writing, “From Hamilton to Lizzo, from The Greatest Showman to Melanie Martinez, they’ve been behind some of the most important and diverse artists and projects we’ve championed over the past few years. What they have in common is not only great ears, but the ability to discover original talent, nurture artists, and foster true creative thinkers over the long haul, helping build real careers and develop game-changing releases.”

Davis has been with Atlantic for nine years, having joined the company as an assistant in the A&R department. In partnership with producer Ricky Reed, he helped sign and develop Lizzo at the label in 2015 and also worked on the bestselling soundtrack for The Greatest Showman.

Levin joined Atlantic in 2010 and has since signed Melanie Martinez and Oliver Tree, among others. He recently A&R’d Ben Platt’s debut album Sing To Me Instead and worked with Warner Chappell Music to A&R G-Eazy and Bebe Rexha’s hit single “Me, Myself & I” and sign Logic to a global publishing deal.

Since joining Atlantic in 2014, Morales has guided releases from Wiz Khalifa and Janelle Monáe, signed singer-songwriter Tayla Parx and signed and associate produced the Original Broadway Cast Recording of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash musical Hamilton. Prior to that, he served as vp of A&R at Eminem’s Shady Records and worked as a music journalist for The Fader, Vibe and The Source, where he served as a music editor.



Universal Music Publishing Nashville announced Thursday (March 5) that it has promoted Cyndi Forman to senior vp, A&R. She will continue reporting to Troy Tomlinson, chairman and CEO of the Nashville division.

Forman — who previously served as vp, creative — joined UMPG in 2002. She signed and developed Hunter Hayes and currently works with Maren Morris, Kane Brown, Chris Young, Brad Tursi (Old Dominion), Caylee Hammack, Sam Ellis and Striking Matches. Her promotion will see her playing a key leadership role in strengthening UMPG Nashville’s creative division, while continuing to sign and develop new songwriters and support the current roster.



Rhino Entertainment, the catalog division of Warner Music Group (WMG), has named John Hughes to the post of senior vp of fan engagement and innovation, it was announced Feb. 28. Hughes will report to Rhino president Mark Pinkus out of the company’s Los Angeles headquarters.

In his new role, Hughes — who has been with Rhino for 10 years — will continue to lead the fan engagement and innovation team, spearheading Rhino’s initiatives to grow new and existing audiences for WMG’s music catalog through content development, social media properties, fan communities and podcasts. He developed and implemented Rhino’s first fan engagement department in his previous role as vp of fan engagement and innovation at the company, working with artists including Cyndi Lauper, Depeche Mode, Grateful Dead, Jeff Beck, The Notorious B.I.G. and Roberta Flack.

Hughes, who also created and co-produces the Rhino Podcast, recently produced deluxe editions of The Cars’ albums for Elektra and the Monkees albums Good Times and Christmas Party.



Independent record label 10K Projects has hired Danielle Price as senior vp business and legal affairs, founder and CEO Elliot Grainge announced Wednesday (March 4).

Price joins 10K from the boutique law firm LaPolt Law, P.C., where she led the hip-hop music division that represented artists including Nicki Minaj, 21 Savage, Megan Thee Stallion, SAINt JHN and Tinashe. She was a key player in getting 21 Savage freed from ICE custody last year.

Price began her career as an attorney in the Warner Music Group legal affairs department, where she handled content protection matters and pursued copyright and trademark infringement claims. She is a member of the Recording Academy and is on the board of “Future Hope,” a subset of the City of Hope’s music, film and entertainment industry group.



On Wednesday (March 4), The Country Music Association (CMA) announced two key promotions: Emily Evans, who has been upped to vp, strategic initiatives, and Tiffany Kerns, who has been named vp, community outreach.

Evans — who formerly served as senior director, strategic partnerships — will oversee programs and projects that support CMA’s short-and long-term objectives, including the CMA Songwriters Series and CMA KixStart Artist Scholarship. She will also be responsible for overseeing all awards processes and special awards events and continue to spearhead all integrated marketing efforts with CMA’s network partner ABC. She previously worked at st8tmnt, 13 Management, MAC Presents, and MAD Booking and Events.

In her new role, Kerns — who will continue serving as executive director of CMA’s nonprofit arm, the CMA Foundation — will create and implement CMA’s community outreach initiatives, including its collegiate development program CMA EDU. She will additionally oversee CMA’s membership practices and programming to ensure voting transparency and integrity for all CMA Awards shows, as well as provide strategic direction and management of CMA membership development, evaluate the effectiveness of existing structures and develop strategies to ensure membership recruitment and retention. Kerns previously worked at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is a 2018 recipient of the Women in Music City Award.



Anna Weisband has joined Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville as vp, creative, it was announced Wednesday (March 4). In her new role, Weisband will contribute to the company’s A&R strategy, create marketing opportunities for the Sony/ATV catalog and foster relationships with songwriters while also helping to sign new talent.

Weisband started as an intern in 2012 at the Warner Chappell joint venture THiS Music, ultimately rising to the role of vp. Over the course of her career, she has carried out A&R duties including talent discovery, collaboration creation, artist management, and song placement for the company’s songwriters, including Ben Hayslip, Tim Nichols and Emily Weisband.



Yvette Noel-Schure — a publicist for artists including Beyoncé, Chloe x Halle and Buju Banton — has joined the production company TEMPO Networks, which emphasizes Caribbean culture, it was announced Feb. 28.

In her new role, Noel-Schure will work with TEMPO Networks founder, chairman and CEO Frederick A. Morton, Jr. to find Caribbean executives, entertainers, athletes and creatives to “highlight their journey from islands to boardrooms and from shores to the peak of success.” She will also continue on as a communication strategist for her company Schure Media Group and as head of media at Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment.

In a statement, Morton, Jr. noted that Noel-Schure will executive produce the TEMPO series Caribbean Dream, on which she previously appeared. “Yvette brought her joy and honesty to the series and I knew she would be the right person to help us expand our mission to tell compelling stories of Caribbean immigrants living their dream,” he said.



On Monday (March 2), Position Music CEO and founder Tyler Bacon announced that Michael Frick has been named vp, brand partnerships & creative synch at the independent label and music publisher. In his new role, Frick — the co-founder of music production and synch company Mophonics — will be charged with creating further synch opportunities for the company while also focusing on strategically aligning its artists with major brands.

“As brands look for deeper, more strategic connections with music, we believe that equipping Michael’s creativity and industry knowledge with our growing roster of artists and writers will prove to be extremely valuable for our brand and agency relationships,” said Bacon in a statement.

Frick has previously spearheaded partnerships with a number of artists, brands, agencies networks and studios including Skylar Grey, Jason Mraz, Ziggy Marley, Foster the People, Amazon, Google, Apple, YouTube, Billboard, Coachella, Target, Sony, MTV and HBO. At Position Music, he will work closely with the company’s vp, head of synch Emily Weber and the rest of its synch, label services, and marketing departments.

Frick previously served as a strategic advisor to global startup The Rattle Collective. He also worked at We Are Hear — the label, publisher and management company owned by Linda Perry and Kerry Brown.



Virtual reality music company MelodyVR has named James Garside its head of product, the company announced Thursday (March 5). In the role, Garside will be responsible for developing and maintaining a best-in-class customer experience across the company’s portfolio while overseeing the MelodyVR product.

“I’m delighted to be joining MelodyVR at such a seminal point in its story,” said Garside in a statement. “After a momentous year for the business, it is thrilling to help shape its product offering for more success in the future. Having already established itself as the world’s leading destination for immersive live music content, its potential is infinite.”

Garside joins the company from video streaming service DAZN, where he was one of the original product team members who built, launched and scaled the app through its first nine territories. He previously worked as a product manager at Ministry of Sound, where he created music and video apps including a DJ video streaming service. At MelodyVR, he will report to CEO Anthony Matchett.


Composer Justin Hori has re-joined the creative audio network Squeak E. Clean Studios as creative director out of the company’s Chicago office, it was announced Feb. 25.

Hori previously served for five years as creative director at Squeak E. Clean, when he created tracks including “Da Diddy Da” for Apple’s 2018 iPad campaign and “Your Future is not Mine,” the Clio Music Award-winning anthem for Adidas’s 2016 campaign. He has also crafted original music for brands including Apple, Reebok, Adidas, Volkswagen and Budweiser.

Starting as a DJ at age 13, Hori studied music theory and composition at Columbia College and later worked at Comtrack and Comma Music. He re-joins Squeak E. Clean Studios from music house Human Worldwide, where he was tasked with expanding the company into the Chicago market.



Jacob Smid has been named managing director of the Toronto-based concert and entertainment promotion company MRG Live, it was announced Monday (March 2). In his new role, Smid will oversee the company and lead its expansion into global markets, including the U.S., out of its newly-established New York office.

“Jacob and I connected more than a decade ago over a belief that when you turn activities into experiences they are more valuable than things,” said MRG Group president Matthew Gibbons in a statement. “As an industry leader, Jacob has a proven track record of developing global markets from clubs to stadiums.”

At age 19, Smid founded the promotion company Emerge Entertainment, which worked with artists including Adele, The Killers and Daft Punk and produced the first three Virgin Festivals in Toronto. When the company was acquired by Live Nation in 2008, Live Nation named him vp of talent & marketing in Canada. He later served as managing director of SFX, where he led U.S. festival expansion of Tomorrowland, Mysteryland and Electric Zoo. Most recently, he led the global music & festivals division at IMG Events. He is also a founding partner at Fource, an independent promoter in the Czech Republic and Poland.



On Wednesday (March 4), U.K. collective management organization PPL announced that it has appointed Mark Douglas as chief information officer and Matt Phipps-Taylor as chief data officer.

Douglas joined PPL in 2011 as chief technology officer. In that role, he oversaw the development of PPL’s repertoire database and related systems and also led the organization’s contribution to IFPI and WIN’s forthcoming Repertoire Data Exchange (RDx) service.

Phipps-Taylor, Douglas’s former co-worker at Deloitte, joined PPL in 2016 as head of insight & innovation. In that role, he was responsible for building and overseeing a new team focused on using data to improve PPL’s operations and services. He drives all of the organization’s data analytics, reporting and governance and represents it on the board of DDEX.

“Data has long been at the heart of PPL’s operations and we have invested significantly in it over the years,” said PPL CEO Peter Leathem in a statement. “This focus has ensured that PPL remains at the forefront of our industry in the management and use of data. In Mark and Matt, PPL has two incredibly able individuals who have driven this agenda within PPL and more widely across the industry.”



Glassnote has hired Dexter Batson as its head of promotion in the U.K., the company revealed Tuesday (March 3). He joins the indie label from Spotify U.K., where he spent three and a half years as senior editor on the music culture & editorial team and was responsible for Alternative playlisting.

Before Spotify, Batson spent five years at the BBC. Prior to that, he worked in independent radio promotions at AJPR, where he worked with Klaxons, La Roux, The Flaming Lips and The Wombats.